Spare a thought for those of us who are still in denial that we don't have any real skill, and need to blame cheap gear and film storage to cover up our mediocre photos...
I bought some Ilford Delta 400 from the SA distributor in May. It was dated March 2013. Now that's short dated! I'll shoot it (only 5 rolls) but next time will be sure to ask...
The book store at my college is selling bulk rolls of HP5+ that expired in March 2013, I started buying it in Feb, when the price dropped to $25 a roll, bought a roll a week and its all in the freezer. I have several hundred feet and I doubt there will be any change. I also bought 30 rolls of Provia from a local place that was due to expire in 3 days for $1.50 for a 36exp roll, its also in the freezer. Personally I like short dated film. Just keep it in the freezer and it will be fine. Especially for those of us who are still trying to be better at taking pictures...
Thank you for all the replies. This was only my second thread and judging from the results there does seem to be some controversy surrounding "short dated" film. At least I feel justified in starting this thread.
I really do appreciate the enthusiasm in addressing my query. I can't respond to all the replies but I will address a few general points that seemed to come up multiple times.
First let me clarify my position as far as the film I have already received. It is slow/medium speed B&W film and it was one five roll pro pack which I will freeze. I will most likely use most of it within five months and freezing it will ensure it is fresh even beyond the five months. The only reason I started this thread is because it was the first time in my life anyone sent me film five months from expiration without indicating it was "short dated" and discounting it prior to sale. That's why I asked about whether this was an issue and about ethics.
The reason I started the thread is in life I find often when you have an issue with a person, company, etc there is usually a warning sign you ignored. While receiving a pro pack of Tmax 100 five months from expiration is far from a disaster I don't know if it portends bad things from that retailer. That is what prompted my query. I didn't know if this was a warning sign of potentially more significant bad customer service or just my own neurosis.
As far as the "couple of months" comment. I am not sure what that was referring to. For the record I bought some high quality 100 ISO B&W film a couple of months ago and it had an expiration date in mid/late 2015. I buy some film now and it is expiring in November of this year. That ain't "a couple of months." Again folks give me and some of the other posters some credit. Something that was abnormal in my experience occurred and I am just asking about it. This is the first time I used this supplier and it is no problem to stop using them. I just never really thought about the term short dated and I was wondering if more experienced people had a precise definition.
Again thank you to everyone who responded regardless of what your definition of "short dated" is. The thread has been informative.
I think this is symptomatic of the changes in film use.
when I first started using a 35mm camera, I would gladly try all the local camera stores and try to get shout/outdated film. Sticktly for the cost savings as I was a student on a modest allowance. In fact my most local store had some Ansco Versapan that was a couple of months outdated and the guy said I could have it at 25 cents a roll, if I took it all. I agreed but it took me several weeks to have enough money to pick it all up. The guy was kind enough to keep it under the counter for me. The deal was even better in that the Ansco Cassettes were re-loadable and plain re-loadeble cassettes were at least 25 cents each in those days.
I then fould freestyle in the back pages of Popular Photography. In those days they had a tight ad filled with cheep film, and fine print that said "all Items not marked <fresh> are outdated but fully guaranteed" I took the "Since 1946" to mean that they had started selling war surplus film. Freestyle gradually moved to there current policy on mostly selling private label products.
so as someone who has bought more short dated film than most folks I would expect that 3 months is definitely time to flag an item as short dated.
If it makes you happy to think I bought two rolls of film that had expiration dates two months apart and had a mental break down go ahead. But it has nothing to do with reality or this thread.
Films now have much shorter expiry dates than 20 or 30 years ago, so does food and many other items, it's part of ISO 9002 compliance. So expiry dates are now quite short a few years less then when I took up photography but the films still behave perfectly for years past the modern expiry dates.
I've made some great images on short dated HP5 bought from the US and marked short dated on the box well after the expiry date (4 or 5 years), in fact I still use some innthe UK and the results are no different to newer HP5 film I've used in Turkey.